National Photgraphic Portrait Prize 2015Share Event on Facebook Share Event on Twitter Share Event on LinkedIn
The National Photographic Portrait Prize is an annual award for what is judged to be the best of the entries in any given year for this National Portrait Gallery initiative. Entries have grown exponentially over the years – 2,500 entries and 44 finalists in 2015 - as this prestigious award has a very nice $25,000 cheque for the winner and as it’s open to all comers, the winners are often from unexpected areas. Thankfully not won by a ‘selfie’ yet, and please never!
This year a young boy from a village in the mountains of Iran happened to be walking along a road, emerging out of the mist from the clouds that permanently cover the mountains to stop, engage and be photographed by Iranian born photographer Hoda Afshar. As the winning photograph Ali is now forever immortalised in a digital print on the walls of the National Portrait Gallery in Canberra, a place he probably has no concept of, nor expectation of ever visiting and that’s what makes this highly atmospheric and emotionless photograph so special. So much can be assumed from the photograph, I just hope one day he understands what has occurred in that moment in time.
Thankfully 2015 is devoid of the “crepuscular” photographs that were predominant last year. That fact announced by the sartorial splendid Director Angus Trumble and quietly endorsed by many. I would have said sad and miserable but as misery begets misery we’ve got enough of that without making it a prerequisite for this competition. And being a competition we who snap away for a living are want to criticize the choices, wonder the why of some entries and found favourites among the extensive range of finalists.
For me the photograph by Natalie Grono of Feather a local Byron Bay identity known for her “youthful and vibrant character” is a splendid photograph that will evoke judgment and comment of a lady unlikely to miss a moment of enjoying her life on her own terms. And a reminder of the fleeting moments you can miss with Ketaki Jewson-Brown’s daughter Lalita in a one frame moment caught in the midst of a lot of goofing around. Moments in time; some contrived, some just lucky and many reflections of emotions, patience and a practiced eye.
Take time to enjoy this exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.